Date: 7/28/20 1:55 pm
From: C Wood via CTBirds <ctbirds...>
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Cockenoe Island
Notably, the fluctuating presence and success of breeding terns on Cockonoe and other Norwalk Islands has been observed since at least 1964 (Bull, Birds of New York), often influenced by recreation use of the area. In the late 1970s while researching colonial nesting birds in the Norwalk Islands area for my graduate program, I recorded in 1979 a Least Tern colony of 150 or so adults on the Cockonoe sand spit and adults, juveniles, and fledglings were observed there and feeding throughout the region. At that time only a few Common Terns were observed.

Like others, I’ve observed that Common Terns have dominated the nesting area in recent years, but with fluctuating numbers. Recreational activities continue to disrupt the birds, despite warning signs, but I suspect that Larry and Sean are right about the impact of spring tides, especially as water levels rise.

Chris Wood
Woodbury, CT
203 558-0654

Flickr: C.S.Wood-Photos <https://www.flickr.com/gp/cswood-photos/3514fW>
Blog: WoodWarbling <http://cswood022.blogspot.com/?m=0>


> On Jul 28, 2020, at 1:04 AM, Larry via CTBirds <ctbirds...> wrote:
>
> The recent reports perked my interest, some may recall me doing a silly
> blog about the Norwalk Islands a decade ago,
> Prior to 2010 there were about zero nesting birds on the Cockenoe sandspit
> for a number of years, yes it was a hotspot at times during the 70's on
> into perhaps the 80's, Mr. Mantlik please chime in on that.
> When I was youngster back in the early 60's there was a whole lot more
> land to this sand spit, Our family used to boat there to picnic and swim
> on summer weekends, that sand spit was long and much wider back then, today
> there is only remnants of what was, these days with every passing
> nor-easter and hurricane Cockenoe and other islands in the Norwalk Island
> chain are becoming less and less in acreage.
> There were two major noreasters over the previous winter and it changed the
> landscape of the sandspit. After the terns arrived Dennis Varza remarked to
> me that the landscape change probably made suitable habitat for the newly
> nesting terns, here is my blog on what led up to this point. Please excuse
> my poor grammar and spelling.
> http://long-tails.blogspot.com/2010/05/chicks-and-terns.html
> followed by...
> http://long-tails.blogspot.com/2010/06/here-come-babies.html
> then..
> http://long-tails.blogspot.com/2010/07/4th-of-july-is-official-start-of-summer.html
>
> and
> http://long-tails.blogspot.com/2010/07/terns-survived.html
> a bit more
> http://long-tails.blogspot.com/2010/07/least-terns-is-third-nesting-attemp.html
>
> These blogs are a small historical look at the terns 2010 nesting season on
> Cockenoe, back then there were almost as many Least Terns as Common, wow
> that has changed.
> Two of Patricks interns and I spent some midnight hours studying the
> spring tide effects on the bar...
> http://long-tails.blogspot.com/2012/06/flooded-cockenoe-island-nest-site.html
>
> There are years more of these blogs, no need for me to go on, Hopefully
> folks will have an understanding of the erosion of this tiny sand spit and
> some of the wildlife that tries to evolve around it.
> Note: these 2010 blogs are a decade old, the spit has lost more earth
> since, so lesser tides will cause more havoc.
> Please, someone save this history. I may never repeat it.
> Thank you to Tina, Sean, Brendan and others for keeping up with the Norwalk
> Islands!
> Great Job!!!
>
> Larry Flynn
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